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SIDMOUTH:Council to move forward with Knowle relocation
Tuesday, 08 July 2014
Town and village green application refused
AN application to turn parts of Knowle, Sidmouth, into a town and village green has failed, giving East Devon District Council (EDDC) the go-ahead to progress its relocation. The Knowle Residents’ Association (KRA) made the application, which forced EDDC to stop marketing the site and Manstone depot. A town or village green designation is defined by law is a space that has been allotted for the exercise or recreation of the inhabitants of any locality or on which the inhabitants of any locality have a customary right to indulge in lawful sports and pastimes. EDDC’s cabinet and full council supported the proposal to move its headquarters to from the Knowle to SkyPark, near Exeter, in February. As part of the process, EDDC must find out the value that developers are prepared to put on Knowle and Manstone. The refused application means EDDC can resume the marketing exercise. An EDDC spokesperson said: “In his report, the inspector commissioned by Devon County recommended rejection of the KRA’s application. This was based not only on the particulars of the Knowle application but also the relevance of a recent Supreme Court ruling (The ‘Barkas’ Case). Council leader Paul Divani said: “The attempt to stall the council’s plans to relocate has been rejected by the inspector and we can now move another step forward with our relocation plans. “The TVG application has added time and cost to the council’s relocation planning but the outcome has given us the clarity needed to ensure that we are able to market parts of Knowle that we had designated within the draft Local Plan for residential use. It is important to emphasise once again that the council has guaranteed a publicly accessible future for the parkland at Knowle. “Relocation is central to our plans to transform the council into an organisation that meets the needs of our residents and businesses in an accessible, cost effective and joined up way.” The spokesperson added: “East Devon is working hard to transform and modernise the way staff go about their work and the ways in which customers can do business with the council. There are a number of projects currently underway including the roll out of mobile devices to ensure staff have the right IT equipment to allow them to work from home, flexibly or in a mobile way.”
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